What is a Psychotherapist
This is a common question that I get asked many times. I describe myself as a psychotherapist who uses hypnosis as my primary vehicle for delivering therapy. My orientation is brief solution focused which favours an integrative approach. My that’s a mouthful isn’t it? Well yes, for the average member of the public, there is a difficulty in determining the difference between a psychotherapist, psychologist and an psychiatrist.
Hopefully, these explanations will help.
Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders, covering diagnosis, management and prevention. A psychiatrist is also a medical doctor, so very often part of the treatment that they provide will involve some kind of medical intervention namely prescribing medication.
Psychology is the study of the human mind and the way we think, act and behave. There is a convention that says that a person with a degree in psychology can call themselves a psychologist, but to use a specific title such as Clinical Psyhcologist or Counselling Psychologist requries several years of post graduate training which leads to a Royal Charter and registration with the HCPC-Health and Care Professions Council.
Psychotherapy covers a multitude of therapeutic approaches. Within the lead body for psychotherapy in the UK, the UK Council for Psychotherapy these approaches are represented by 11 colleges which are:
- Cognitive Psychotherapies College (CPC)
- College of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (C-CAP)
- College for Family, Couple and Systemic Therapy (CFCST)
- College of Hypno-Psychotherapists (CH-P)
- College of Medical Psychotherapists (CMP)
- College for Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapy (CSRP)
- Constructivist and Existential College (CEC)
- Council for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis College (CPJAC)
- Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College (HIPC)
- Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Intersubjective Psychotherapy College (PCIPC)
- Universities Training College (UTC)
I have included links to the various college pages on the UKCP website. In order to become a psychotherapist, a person undertakes a minimum of 4 years of training at Masters Degree level training which includesÂ a mental health component (and with attention to human development, psychopathology, ethics, research, equalities, diversity and safeguarding). This is in addition to personal therapy and 450 supervised clinical hours.
I hope that gives some clarity as to what a psychotherapist is, and the differences between a psychotherapist, psychiatrist and psychologist.